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AYER — The North Central Massachusetts Conference of Football Officials presented the Ayer High School football team with the Robert P. Malaska Sportsmanship Award at their banquet that was held recently. On hand to receive the award for the Panthers were head coach Jamie Lamoreaux and captains Anthony Raneri and Brian Babcock.

“We were outnumbered all season but we never gave up,” said Lamoreaux. “The kids never showed their frustrations or got nasty. This award was a nice surprise and I’m pleased that the officials noticed the way our kids went out and played. It was a long season for us, but it is gratifying that the officials saw that we didn’t quit or get chippy. The award was a bright spot in our season.”

The Ayer contingent enjoyed the well-run event.

“There was a nice dinner and we were treated very well,” said Lamoreaux. “We received a great plaque and it was just a great night overall.”

The two Ayer captains also were rewarded when they split a $500 scholarship.

“It was nice to see Anthony and Brian awarded with the scholarships,” said Lamoreaux. “But I am proud of all the kids on the team who earned some well-deserved recognition for hanging tough. They gave their best, respected their opponents and played hard.”

Ayer Athletic Director Justin Lamoreaux was also pleased and stressed that the school puts plenty of emphasis on sportsmanship.

“We won the John Fahy Sportsmanship Award for MidWach D in 2007,” said Lamoreaux. “Our sportsmanship has been excellent in our recent history and football has been a large part of that.”